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Womb Dwelling


A beloved Tulsa store opens a sister location in Oklahoma City.

Sarah Lobban December 5th, 2012

Mary Beth Babcock is the ultimate entrepreneur.

After college and a few less-than-fulfilling jobs, she purchased a business name, some light fixtures and other odds and ends.

She located an out-of-the-way space in downtown Tulsa and did what she had wanted to do since she was a child: Babcock opened a gift shop. Dwelling Spaces soon became popular, especially with artistic types.

So popular, in fact, that Oklahoma City will no longer be without a Dwelling Spaces of its own.

In November, just in time for Black Friday, her second location opened in Automobile Alley inside the Womb Gallery, owned by Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne.

Through her involvement in public arts, Babcock worked with Coyne in the past. When she mentioned that she was thinking about expanding to Oklahoma City, he suggested a space in his gallery.

“[Coyne] is always fun to work with. He’s always entertaining,” said Babcock. “He’s an inspiration to me as an artist. For him to believe in me, as a little business owner, is pretty huge. It’s really encouraging, and it helps me want to inspire other people.”

Although the shop is small, it has all the style and flair of the Tulsa location. Both places feature a wide variety of made-in-Oklahoma merchandise: Barbecue sauce from Kenton, art from Oklahoma City, music from Norman — you can find it all.

“It’s little, about 400 square feet,” Babcock said. “But I like that about opening a new location. Being small, I can be more exclusive about the items I bring in.”

One of the notable product lines to come out of Dwelling Spaces is the Cuddle Monsters, handmade plush toys in various forms. Singersongwriter Ben Folds, a patron of Tulsa’s Dwelling Spaces, has one of the toys in his image, as do Woody Guthrie and, naturally, Coyne.

Paintings and prints by Eric Joyner are a staple. The Robots and Donuts series is exactly what it sounds like: pictures of tin robots surfing, exploring, napping or doing whatever it is robots do all day, with a donut somehow incorporated into each scene.

The Womb has been closed since December of last year to undergo renovations to bring it up to code.

“With any project, at first, you’ve got this vision,” said Babcock. “As time goes on, you start to see all the pieces of the puzzle coming together. It’s on its way.”

 
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